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Playing Preschool - Unit 18: Fairy Tales

Updated: Jun 6, 2021

A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum

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Fairy Tales Do Come True

Fairy tales are an essential part of childhood. While we sometimes make the mistake of equating fairy tales with damsels in distress and romance, they are so much more than that. The older, original fairy tales typically teach a lesson or depict the struggle between good and evil. These stories, while sometimes dark, are designed to help children understand conflict and how to overcome challenges or model behaviors. They are appealing to young people because, in the innocence of childhood, they still have the ability to believe in magic and immerse themselves in the fantasy.

Building Background Knowledge

Thanks to Walt Disney, most toddlers have been exposed to animated versions of fairy tales ranging from the Mickey Mouse version of Jack and the Beanstalk to the Tangled iteration of Rapunzel (unless you are completely screen-free and then you are my hero). While that is great, there are still many fairy tales that haven't made it to the big screen but are still important to know. As a former English teacher, I can attest that being familiar with a wide range of well-known stories and literature is critical for recognizing allusion. If you have never read The Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, would you know the character traits of the Big Bad Wolf?

Video Links

If you choose to watch the animated versions, I recommend reading the story first to let their brain practice visualizing the story through text and words alone. After viewing the video, talk about what was different from reading the story (i.e. sound effects, music, action). One of the skills children will need to learn when they get to school is comparing and contrasting a text to it audio or video version.

Suggested Books

*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit

Additional Book List

Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.

Alternate Versions of Classic Fairy Tales

Additional Resources/Activities

Educational Games and Toys


For this unit, I decided the best thing to do was read as many fairy tales as we could to maximize my toddler's exposure. We found different ways of making connections and bringing them to life. For example, we had planted a sunflower in our backyard and it was tall enough that we pretended that it was Jack's beanstalk. We watched songs and clips from old Disney movies and built Rapunzel's tower with Magna-Tiles. Find the stories that fascinate your child and have fun with it.

What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Units→ Fairy Tales.

Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy

Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 19 - Water

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We love The Other Side of the Story and Another Other Side of the Story. They were actually the first books that exposed our little ones to fairy tales, so it will be interesting to know their reactions when they read the traditional versions. Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf can be found in The Other Side of the Story. It is one of our favourites from the whole collection. And... it has a connection to the parts of an apple and different types of apples (Unit One) so it ties in nicely throughout the year.

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